Portrait of Glenda Phillips Hightower


Legacies Classification
Memorial Artwork
Memorial Type
Visual Work of Art
Memorial Context
Memorialized Subject
Portrait of Glenda Phillips Hightower
Background and Context
The portrait was commissioned to honor Glenda Phillips, the first Black student to attend Elon full-time. Phillips, a native of Burlington, NC, enrolled in the fall of 1963 but withdrew in fall 1964 due to an illness. The portrait was unveiled on February 23, 2016, during a special ceremony of the weekly Elon tradition College Coffee. The artist was Michael Del Priore (1954-2020), an American master portrait artist best known for oil and pastel portraits in the Classical Realism style. A native of South Carolina, Del Priore painted more than 850 portraits in his 40-plus year career. His works can be found in many state capitals, state supreme courts, universities, banks, hospitals, board rooms and private collections. Del Priore studied at the National Academy in New York. With a background in illustration work and further studies with nationally acclaimed artists, Del Priore boasted a solid portraiture foundation. He taught at the University of South Carolina and the Columbia Museum of Art and lectured and demonstrated his art to civic groups at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Academy of Art College in San Francisco, and Palette and Chisel in Chicago. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Portrait Artists and was a member of the Artists Fellowship Society of New York. He served as executive director of the Palmetto Area Cultural Arts Center in downtown Williamston, S.C. The portrait is located in the Moseley Center.
Physical Description
Oil on canvas, 27 in w x 31 in h
Memorial Inscription
Glenda Phillips Hightower '67 A native of Burlington North Carolina, Glenda Phillips Hightower enrolled as Elon's first full-time Black student in 1963. She received a full scholarship as a pre-medicine major, but was not offered the opportunity to live on campus. Often feeling invisible in campus spaces, she found a home playing clarinet in Elon's marching band. Hightower withdrew from Elon in the middle of her sophomore year. in part fue to health issues. Relentless in her pursuit of education, she earned a degree in 1974 from the University of Iowa, and spent her career serving others as a nurse. In recognition of her indomitable spirit, Elon awarded Hightower and honorary doctor of humane letters degree in 2019.
Creator/Participating Person(s)
Priore, Michael Del
Date created, installed or dedicated
Location: Institution, City, State

Position: 127 (20 views)